What's up with the TTC? Seriously. It's the question on everyone's lips, usually a few times a week. Love it or hate it, you have to use it and tens of thousands of people do, every day. Operated by the Toronto Transit Commission and known by locals as the TTC, Toronto's antiquated subway, streetcar and bus system is adequate, at best. At worst, it seriously underdelivers services to a city continuing to expand more rapidly than its infrastructure. On a good day, you'll get to where you need to in the expected time frame. On a bad day – usually in midsummer or the throes of winter – you might wish you had just stayed put.
Service delays and overcrowding are the most common complaints. Streetcars are clunky, packed to the hilt and move at a snail's pace during the long rush hours, twice a day. Be sure to have the exact change as you board or ye shall not pass. Subway trains are better, with some fancy new rolling stock on the rails, but they are equally subject to delays. Of course, it's very Canadian to make like a sardine or wait patiently in line and never complain: especially at staffed ticket booths where you'll often see your train whizz past as you wait in line to get through. Attempts to automate ticketing with the PRESTO card (and electronic passes) are still in their infancy, with big plans to roll it out across the whole TTC network.
Improvements are happening in dribs and drabs, but alas, there isn't much sign of respite for ragged Torontonians any time soon. A bunch of new streetcars, trains and tracks have been rolled out (bringing their own challenges – new trams that don't fit old track turns!), and civic action groups are lobbying like crazy. Check out civicaction.ca/regional-transportation. For the official word on what's being done, see: www.bigmove.ca.